Melatonin for Kids
If you are a parent you know that getting your children to bed can be one of the most difficult tasks in a day. They always have an excuse as to why they should stay up. Or, sometimes they may even play a little game of hide and seek just to steal a few more minutes of the night before being sent off to bed. Regardless of the tactics your children pull to escape from dreamland, you know as a parent how important their sleep is. And you’d probably do just about anything to make sure they get the rest they need. In fact, many parents have started looking towards natural sleep aids for help, one of those being Melatonin.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is found naturally in every human body. It is created by an amino acid called tryptophan and is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Basically, Melatonin functions as your biological clock. It is the chemical that is released in the brain that regulates your sleep and wake cycles. It has been said that the amount of Melatonin produced in the body is reduced overtime, but that still remains unclear. It has been proven, however, that the amount of Melatonin produced in Children, especially those under the age of 10, is significantly higher than that of an adult.
Is Melatonin Safe for Children?
While Melatonin is a popular supplement for adults to help with sleep insomnia, it should be used with caution in children. Doctors across the board have concluded that because Melatonin is a hormone it is not necessarily safe to use in children, especially on a consistent basis. The reason for this is because children are still growing and developing, the introduction of extra hormones could potentially increase risks in the development of the child. Plus, the side effects of Melatonin are increased in children. They can include increased seizure activity, agitation, nightmares, constipation, and behavioral changes. If your child is having trouble falling asleep Doctors recommend taking other steps before adding Melatonin in their diet. First, they suggest putting your child on a consistent bedtime schedule. They discourage having the child participate in activities that over stimulate the brain before bed such as exercising, watching television, or playing on the computer. Doctors encourage instead having the child read a book or take a warm bath 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed. And of course, keep them from consuming caffeine past the noon hour.
When is Melatonin Helpful With Children?
There are unique cases in which Melatonin can actually be helpful in children. Mostly these cases occur in children with disorders such as a Melatonin deficiency, or a child struggling with seizures. Melatonin has been shown to decrease the amount of epileptic activity, especially during sleep. It can also be helpful with children who have tardive dyskinesia. This is a condition in which oxidative damage occurs because of the consumption of antipsychotic drugs. Melatonin is a natural antioxidant and has been proven to help reverse the damage if taken in high doses. Another condition where Melatonin can help relieve comfort is a condition called tinnitus. This is discomfort of the ears caused by constant ringing.
There are many other helpful uses Melatonin has to offer. However, if you are just looking to help your child from insomnia doctors suggest you don’t take the Melatonin route. Instead try finding other means to help your child relax in the evening, and use Melatonin as a last resort. Regardless of what you decide, Melatonin is a key part in helping regulate sleep cycles and when produced naturally can help your child drift off into a world of sweet dreams, helping give you your own night of sweet bliss.